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The Poetry of Thought: From Hellenism to Celan 1st Edition

6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0811219457
ISBN-10: 0811219453
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Editorial Reviews


The Poetry of Thought is denser in its language, more disquieting in its arguments, more in line with Steiner’s stronger works, such as Heidegger (1978) and many of the essays collected in No Passion Spent (1996). Steiner’s overall subject here is the interlocked nature of poetic language and philosophical thought, and how the intellect manifests itself through this connection.” (Rain Taxi)

About the Author

Extraordinary Fellow of Churchill College at Cambridge University and the author of dozens of books (The Death of Tragedy, After Babel, Martin Heidegger, In Bluebeard’s Castle), George Steiner is one of the world’s foremost intellectuals.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 223 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions; 1 edition (January 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811219453
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811219457
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,022,816 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Steiner VINE VOICE on June 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A great little book by critic and scholar George Steiner about the complicated relationship of literature to philosophy. Few are as well equipped as Steiner in divulging the history of the close moments of contact between the great thinkers of system and totality and the major poets of the West. Steiner takes us through an impressive tour of the emergence of philosophy in Greece (with excellent commentaries on Heraclitus and Plato), as he reconstructs the primal, philosophical disavowal, and banishment of the poets from Plato's great academy. Yet for Steiner, the fundamental necessity of such a collusion resides in the very fact of language-of the need to think and create poetically in language. Steiner is absolutely meticulous as he moves through the major titans of this special encounter: from Plato and the Greek Tragedians to Heidegger and Celan, this little text is a great gift for students and readers. While never overly technical, Steiner refuses to dumb down. This is essay writing as it should be.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Doug F. VINE VOICE on July 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
George Steiner opens this series of essays on the power of poetic speech with a contrast between the precision of mathematics and music and the imprecision and many weaknesses of language. Then he offers a resounding acclamation of language, proclaiming, "Words, imprecise, time-bound as they are, construct remembrance and articulate futurity. Hope is future tense." For me, this quote captures the force and call of this text. In one sentence, he captures the essential power of the poetic, the speech that creates the future and the world. I might cautiously compare Steiner to Eugen Rosenstock Huessy who suggested that true speech creates the future; all other talking is simply chatter. We live in a world of chatter with a deep need for rediscovering the voice.

The book is a delightful, challenging exploration of poetic force in human culture and particularly in Western philosophic thought. Highly recommended!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By G. Robinson on April 8, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Steiner is just the best. The Einstein of language and semantics. A truly beautiful mind and erudite communicator. Highly recommend also is his book Real Presences.
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